Skills and knowledge are undoubtedly the two most critical components of growth. This applies unequivocally to individuals, communities, organisations and economies. Generally, there are lesser barriers to accessing knowledge, as opposed to getting skilled and with millions of new people joining the global workforce every year, the term Skill Development is thrown around rather colloquially. The confusion over whose responsibility it is to train the workforce adds to the confusion -- is it the educational institutions or the industries, or the vocational centres?
Do educational institutes impart skill and knowledge in equal parts, or focus on the latter, and let the industry and organisations work on the former, according to its need?
According to a news report, India adds about 12 million people to the workforce, and less than 4% have received any formal training. An independent study by GyanCentral, a now defunct education portal, noted that only 12% of Indian engineer graduates are readily employable, 52% need further training, and 36% are not even trainable. The need for skill development is evident, both nationally, and internationally, and studies have time and again established the same. In such a setting, organisations with sole focus on honing and developing skills are providing a much needed platform for people to further their skills and capabilities. The organisations and initiatives as discussed below bring to the table, a unique aspect of the training aspect to the process:
What are they doing: Centum Learning is a leading organization in the global skills development and vocational training landscape. Centum Learning focuses on four key areas:
- Skills Upgradation
- Livelihood Skilling
- Skills for Schools and Colleges
- Skills Assessment
Centum Learning targets the following demographics: Rural & Urban Youth; School Students (14- 18 yrs); College Students and Working Professionals. The training interventions lead to employability through skill based training programs for the rural and urban unemployed youth.
How are they doing it differently: Centum Learning adopts a unique CENT (Capture, Engage, Nurture, Test) continuous engagement model. The CENT model integrates the parameters of performance with the organizations culture. Essentially it is a ‘solutions’ architecture with a four stage solution delivery approach. The corporate training methodologies include:
- Instructor Led Training (ILT) which includes simulations and role plays
- Experiential Learning (XL) which includes business simulations and experiences based reflective learning
- Multimedia based learning (MMBL)
What have they done so far: Sanjeev Duggal, CEO & MD, Centum Learning says, “We have skilled more than 1.2 million youth across countries. Founded with an objective to enable sustainable transformation through learning and skills development, Centum Learning, today, has a global presence. It is present across India, Nepal and 17 countries in Africa with domain expertise across 21 industry verticals and more than 1400 training and development specialists. In addition to being the largest NSDC partner for two years in a row, Centum Learning has impacted over 350 corporates, trained in 31 languages, set up 460 learning centres in rural and urban India, trained more than 3200 CBSE school principals and senior teachers, and also created 3,81,000 job opportunities.”
What does the future look like: Centum Learning has several current partnerships and associates which will potentially reach out to millions of young people across the country. Centum Learning is beginning to customise training as per the requirements of the industries and trying to bridge the skills shortage.
What are they doing: Danfoss India, a Danish climate and energy efficient company reaslied the huge skill gap in the refrigeration and cold chain sector and rolled out a University Engagement Initiative across India. As a part of their programme, Danfoss has tied up with universities across India and provides on ground training by setting up refrigeration labs and centre of excellences, equipped with the latest refrigeration technology, in their campuses for enabling knowledge transfer and preparing future talent to be industry ready.
What are they doing differently: Nagahari Krishna - Director, Strategic Initiatives and Industry Affairs, Danfoss India, says, “We identified the crux of the problem facing the refrigeration and cold chain sectors which is the lack of readily available skilled talent. This has repercussions across industries including Cold Chain, food processing, retail, and agriculture and logistics sectors. Hence we took several initiatives to address this skill gap like, establishing Centers of Excellence (laboratories) across colleges, engaging with colleges with an annual innovation competition - Danfoss Innovator Project Award where engineering students come up with innovative solutions in the climate and energy space, setting up Advance Drives Labs, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) Labs, Danfoss RAC Learning Centres. We also signed an MoU with National Productivity Council to leverage common facilities for training in the area of energy efficiency, working towards improving the course modules existing for energy efficiency and further on energy audit support. Furthermore, we are also working work closely with National Centre for Cold Chain Development to impart education and train stakeholders in the cold chain sector. In collaboration and with the advice of NCCD we have developed a program for skill enhancement on Cold Chain and awareness on post-harvest management practices.”
What have they done so far: The different aspects of the programme listed above have got on board several institutes across the country. Some of them are VIT, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, YMCA Institute of Technology, Faridabad, and SSN College of Engineering, Guindy Industrial Training Institute, Swami Vivekananda Rural Community College, Pondicherry and Walchand College of Engineering, Sangli. Over the last two years NCCD nodal officers from about 25 states have been imparted training at the centre in addition to members of the NCCD.
What does the future look like: Danfoss says they have uncovered some great innovation through these programmes, and that they will keep rolling out innovative measures to skill the youth demographic to address the skill gap in the Air Conditioning and refrigeration sector. The same will also be an effective roadmap for promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation which is key to holistic development of nascent talent, they say.
What are they doing: HCL TalentCare is an integrated global talent-solutions company addressing a wide spectrum of entry level employability needs in India, by creating a ready talent-pool of professionals for enterprises in IT, BFSI and Healthcare sectors. HCL TalentCare is focused on addressing the complete value chain of sourcing, skilling and staffing requirements for entry-level employments in key industry sectors.
What are they doing differently: A completely separate entity from HCL itself, what HCL TalentCare does differently is the implementation, wherein the course structure is tailor-made according to each student’s strengths and weaknesses to make him/her the perfect fit for the perfect job. The organisation has also devised a Jobability Quotient™, which measures and identifies the areas of strength and dimensions that need improvement by benchmarking them against relevant job requirements.
The selected students are then trained at HCL campuses for 3 months, followed by 3-months on-the-job training and then finally placed in leading IT companies. After the completion of the curriculum, HCL TalentCare mentors the individuals for three years though their TalentSurance program to ensure consistency in the career of the student.
What have they done so far: Vijay Iyer, Chief Business Officer at the organisation says, “In 2014-15, as part of the pilot, we sourced, skilled and staffed over 700 graduate engineers into entry-level roles at globally recognized technology companies. Currently, we have two programmes underway: Young Engineer Program (YEP); a 6 months residential program designed to transform engineering graduates into highly sought-after professionals, and the Young Graduate Program (YGP) for Banking offering non-enginnering graduates a career in the banking sector where technology plays a vital role in the career growth.”
What does the future look like: HCL TalentCare targets 20,000 enrolments in the next two years and expanding the residential capacity to accommodate more students. In addition to the mentioned sectors, they also plan to enter two more sectors. Soon, they will also be launching a new course on SMAC (social, mobility, analytics and cloud).
National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
What are they doing: The NSDC website reads, “The NSDC was set up with an objective of increasing the skill training capacity in the country. It was formed in 2008, with the approval of the Union Cabinet as a not for profit public company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 with a capital base of Rs.10 crore to encourage and synchronize private sector initiative in skills development. The overall objective of NSDC is to create training capacity in the country, fund scalability and sustainability of private enterprise, create a market ecosystem for skill development and meet the targets set out by the Government. NSDC mandate was to train 150 million people by 2022.”
What are they doing differently: NSDC says it is a first-of-its-kind Public Private Partnership (PPP) in India set up to facilitate the development and upgrading of the skills of the growing Indian workforce through skill training programs. NSDC was set up to streamline and integrate the work of over 20 governmental bodies that are running skill development programmes. Its accomplishment of the goal may be up for debate, but NSDC says that the skills training provided under their programme helps the individual with hands on training on the skill of his choice and increases his chances of employment in the industry. The website reads as follows, “Our accessibility has three sub-parts to it. One is awareness, two physical accessibility that would not force trainees to travel very far to acquire a new skill and, last, but not the least is affordability.”
What have they done so far: The official numbers are as follows:
- Training Partners: 267
- Training Centres: 4,021
- People Trained: 65,46,251
- People Placed: 26,92,168
What does the future look like: With the current government’s overarching effort and thrust on Skill India Mission, NSDC has been given the responsibility of training 150 million people of the 500 million, which is the bigger goal, by 2022. One can expect more reforms, policies and announcements in the future to re-enforce the need for skill and training. However, a lot of criticism is also vocal about such agencies, their functioning and the bottle-necks that exist in the form of government procedures. Furthermore, the scattered approach and duplication of efforts by several competing government bodies has been named the biggest prohibitive factor ensuring the success of such organisations.
The rapidly growing demographics of the Indian population lie at the risk of being under-utilised, or not utilised at all, if systematic planning to train is absent. An aberration from the otherwise existent thought, skills need to be looked as non-negotiable, as opposed to enrichment to what is available. In order to truly call the country a skilled country, stakeholders – political, industrial, social and educational – need to formulate a path with goals in alignment of each others’ vision. This much talked about gap will exist, and only grow, if current approach to skill and train people – only when needed exists. All these stakeholders need to formulate a common definition of a skill – and not look at it as a separate entity or a responsibility, but as a function for output, efficiency, and employability. It is no longer an extension of the job market that can survive in isolation or individual efforts. These organisations and programmes are just scratching the surface of the issue, and the once the real need to skill and train the people has been identified, it will cast a shadow on the presence and efficiency of traditional education and experience as well. This need is clearly not being addressed by traditional educational tools and environment and the fact that this has been accepted as a norm is unfortunate.
The current socio-economic structure is not conducive to train 500 million individuals by 2022, the interventions needs to be more focused, coordinated, and very importantly, consistent.